Review: Adidas Returns to the Headphone Market With Two New Wireless Sports Models
The headphones were made to make running and working out more enjoyable
Produced in conjunction with Stockholm-based Zound Industries, Adidas is launching two new pairs of sports headphones that will hit shelves and ears later this week.
Designed for people with active lives and a love for music, the FWD-01 (in-ear headphones) and RPT-01 (over-ear headphones) were built using input from athletes as well as quantitative data and field testing.
The headphones were designed to make running and working out more enjoyable, with an emphasis on sound, usability, fit and durability. As a company spokesperson put it at a launch event, the headphones are “tools that empower through music, not just tech products.”
Both models are sleek-looking and sharp-sounding, but there are a few differences to note before you consider purchasing either one when they drop on the 25th.
Equipped with four different options each for ear tips and wings, the FWD-O1s can we configured in up to 16 different ways, so you’re almost guaranteed to find a fit that feels comfortable in your ear.
Once you do, you’ll likely forget the FWD-O1s are even there, as they are quite light and don’t extend too far inside for safety reasons. All the batteries, electronics and one-touch controls are located on the outside of ear area, so the only part of the headphones that make it inside are the speakers.
Attached to a tangle-free cord which is flat and coated with sweat-proof fabric designed to keep it (and the buttons you use to control the headphones) in one place even during movement, the inner-ear speakers provide up to 16 hours of playback between charges.
When not in use, the headphones are small enough to easily slip into a pocket or chuck into the bottom of a gym bag, but they can also be linked up and worn around the neck thanks to the magnetized earbuds.
While the sound the FWD-01s produce isn’t overly bassy, it is clean and crisp. They are also quite comfortable and, unlike many wireless headphones, pair with your phone quite easily and consistently.
A more traditional offering than the FWD-01s, the RPT-01 is also workout friendly and has an ergonomic design, with up to 360 degrees of swivel, meaning you can be a bit rougher with these than you might be with standard over-ear headphones.
Offering up to 40 hours of playtime, the RPT-01 features a comfortable ear cushion that’s slightly smaller than the ones you’ll find on similar models. The reason for that is likely because the ear cushions are made from a knitted material which can be removed and washed, as can the inner headband on the headphones.
Easy to control with a single button that controls the on/off function as well as volume, the RPT-01 also has a customizable action button which can be programmed to complete a variety of functions using an app.
Tipping the scales at less than half a pound, the headphones are water-resistant and also offer strong automatic pairing like their in-ear counterparts.
If you are looking for audiophile-level headphones, then you may want to look elsewhere. The sound is certainly solid, but remember, these were designed with more than one objective in mind. It’s on those other objectives — usability, fit and durability — where the FWD-01s and RPT-01s really shine. Made to be comfortable both during workouts and everyday life, both models are durable enough to be tossed in a bag or briefcase without a second thought. They may not have the highest fidelity, but they also aren’t high-maintenance and the price point (FWD-01 — $150, RPT-01 — $170 ) reflects that.
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